City Holds Last Meeting Before Superior Street Reconstruction Begins

Project leaders met with business leaders and residents at Greysolon Ballroom.

DULUTH, Minn.- The City of Duluth plans to close down Superior Street from Lake Avenue to Fourth Avenue West this summer for a four–block reconstruction project.

The work starts next Monday, so city officials met with business leaders and residents to talk strategy, get feedback, and answer questions about the remodel.

Their big message: it’ll be a rough construction period, but it will be worth it.

The chipping bricks along Superior are out, and multicolored concrete will soon be in, as the second phase of construction is set to begin.

“I’m pretty happy with the work that we got done this year, and how it turned out,” said Duncan Schwensohn, Senior Engineer on the project. “So I think it’s gonna be a nice looking end product when we’re finished out here.”

But before the end product comes the reconstruction.

Businesses shared their concerns with the city.

“There were a couple questions in there about handicap accessibility and bus routes that weren’t answered, public transportation for sure,” said Head Brewer at Fitger’s Brewhouse, Alex Chocholousek.

One concern is handicap accessibility for disabled residents along Superior Street, who are used to entering right in front of their buildings.

“Unfortunately that’s just not something we’re gonna be able to have happen when we’re doing construction,” Schwensohn said. “There’s just too much underground work and pavement and everything that’s going on to allow vehicular access in front of the buildings.”

He said a five-foot wide pedestrian accessible zone will remain open, and if that ever needs to change, the city will put up signage a week in advance.

“You’ll always be able to walk down or, y’know, ride a scooter or wheelchair down to get to the front of the buildings.”

For parking, the city is opening up alternative access points to the Medical District, Hart District, and Tech District parking ramps.

For delivery drivers, Michigan Street will be made two–way between 3rd and 4th avenues.

“I think it’s unreasonable to assume that it’s not gonna hinder us to a certain extent but it seems like the city’s kinda thinking things out, ahead of time,” said Chocholousek.

But project leaders say they can’t address all issues, so they ask for understanding.

“Your patience is appreciated,” Schwensohn said. “Know that the city and the contractor, are trying to make this a successful project and we’re doing everything we can to accommodate concerns as they arise.”

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While preparing for some disruptions in the next 7 months, businesses are staying optimistic.

“It’s only 4 blocks is an important message, right? It’s only 4 blocks of our, whatever, 29-mile city,” said Chocholousek.

Plans call for only 3 blocks to be closed until Grandma’s Marathon in June. Then workers will close and start the 4th.

“I think people just need to take a deep breath and realize this is gonna be a positive change for the city in the long run.”

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